The lure of the Solomons

THERE are around 900 islands in the Solomons and we were fishing on one of the smallest.

No more than 50 metres wide and maybe 80 metres long, it was a tiny speck of white sand in the ocean and it probably didn’t even have a name.

My wife and I had pulled up on the beach in the little Polycraft tender we’d borrowed from our resort. The plan was to have look around, take some photos and maybe do some snorkelling.

Naturally, I’d packed a light rod and some lures too – just in case. It looked pretty fishy, with the shallow reef giving away to much deeper water just a short cast from shore.

My first flick with a 60g metal slice produced a long tom, but there were some larger, darker shapes shadowing it.

Halfway into my third retrieve a pack of four broad-shouldered fish materialised from the deep water and crash-tackled the lure. One engulfed the orange chunk of metal and bolted.

The drag on my little Stradic screamed as a chunky bluefin trevally made a beeline for the drop-off, forcing me to give chase.

Given the shallow water and gnarly, coral-studded terrain, I didn’t hold out much hope of seeing the fish—or my lure—again.

Five or six minutes transpired before I was able to subdue the pugnacious trevor, which was soon at my feet, rolling on its side.

Sliding it up the sand, I grabbed a few quick pics before the fish, which was around the 2-3 kg mark, was released to resume terrorising baitfish on the drop-off with its mates.

I continued wading the shallows, casting lures and hooking more stunningly-marked trevally in waist deep, crystal clear water under an azure sky.

The fish I caught were among the smallest I encountered during my recent trip to the Solomons, but that brief session on that tiny coral outcrop remains seared into my memory, perhaps because it sums up these islands so perfectly.

Stunning scenery, hard-fighting fish and that laid back South Pacific vibe all combine to make the Solomon Islands the perfect place for a fishing holiday.

The thing that stands out the most is the diversity of fishing on offer.

There are few places I know of where you can troll for marlin and sailfish, jig and popper for GTs and red bass, wade the flats for small trevally and cast lures into the snags for mangrove jack all in a half-day’s fishing.

But you can do all that – and more – in the Solomons.

I didn’t fish all that hard when I was over there but still managed to catch mackerel, mahi mahi, rainbow runner, coral trout, red bass, sweetlip and a few species of trevally.

It was a unique cultural experience, too.

People say visiting the Solomons is like visiting Fiji or Indonesia 40 years ago before full-blown tourism took off.


Ben Caddaye fished the Solomon Islands courtesy of the Solomon Islands Visitors Bureau.

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